The M15 buses in New York have been equipped with Siemens Mobility technology to help them get through traffic faster. It monitors the bus lane, records and stores violations by other road users.
Specially equipped bus lanes are an important tool for making local public transport attractive: while the other road users are stuck in traffic with their cars, buses can easily pass them. In spite of the fixed timetables and routes, passengers can reach their destination faster in rush hour than if they were traveling in their own car. However, this only works if the bus lanes are clear. In everyday life, there are always obstacles, for example due to incorrectly parked cars or delivery vans, which are on the edge with unloading lights and block the bus lane. The fact that such violations are subject to a fine usually does little to help, since the police cannot be on site everywhere.
With the ABLE technology (Automatic Bus Lane Enforcement), Siemens has therefore created a technology that is equivalent to mobile monitoring. The goal: traffic violations can be pursued more intensively, which in the medium term should lead to drivers keeping the bus lanes free – in order to avoid a fine. ABLE is now being used in New York for the first time.
Mobile cameras record license plates
New York seems to be a particularly worthwhile place for mobile bus lane surveillance. Because alone on the M15 buses of the Select Bus Service, where the system was installed, more than 44,000 passengers are transported every day. It is therefore important for the city of New York to keep traffic on the bus lanes flowing and thus to increase the efficiency of local public transport. ABLE has the advantage that the cameras are mounted on the buses themselves and not on the infrastructure at the roadside. Of course, this causes significantly less effort.
How the system works: Siemens uses a combination of Global Positioning System (GPS), Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) – automatic number plate recognition – and geo-fencing. This means the principle of drawing a virtual border in space. If this is exceeded, for example by a car half protruding into the bus lane, an action is triggered.